Breast Cancer - How Was It Detected

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Breast Cancer.
How was your breast cancer detected?
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See what others are saying

Published: September 10

My breast cancer was discovered accidentally. I had a "clean" mammogram on May 31 of last year (2007). I ran the Casper Marathon on June 8, 2007. I was feeling myself all over the next day, thinking "Ow, everything still hurts," when I found a very small lump the size of a green pea in my left breast nearly under my arm. I immediately made an appointment with my physician, who decided to watch it a couple of months to see if it would go away on its own. When it was still present on July 23, we agreed I should have a diagnostic mammogram. Upon reading the mammogram, the radiologist said, "I can't see anything"... not anything as in "no cancer" but as in "diddlysquat...your breasts are too dense to read." She said I needed an ultrasound, which I then had and which clearly indicated on the screen, even to me, that something different was present. I returned two days later for a fine core biopsy and a research MRI for a clinical study. Results from the biopsy and the MRI indicated the presence of cancer. This experience has totally demolished my confidence in mammograms. I feel as though I have been brainwashed by the flood of propaganda about getting my yearly mammograms (which I have done every year for the past 19 years). This cancer had been present for an estimated five to six years, yet no mammogram or yearly physician's exam had detected it. My yearly mammogram report always said something to the effect that I have dense breasts that make the mammograms more difficult to interpret....but nowhere or at any time was I ever told that the physician could not see "anything" as in "diddlysquat," and that to be safe, I should have an MRI. My physician says that the insurance will not pay for such MRIs and that is why doctors don't recommend them. I would gladly have paid for the expense myself given the fact that breast cancer runs in my family. I will be fortunate to survive another four years now..

Published: August 23

I like other women, felt a lump 3 weeks before my regularly scheduled mammogram/physical. I am young and "lumpy" fibrocystic I wasn't too concerned. I went on vacation and completely forgot the about the lump I felt. During my physical my doctor noticed the different feel to this lump. She sent me for a mammogram that day. Since I am in the medical field I was able to have this done right away with immediate results. The mammogram was compared to my last years and everything looked "fine." Just to be on the safe side she suggested I go over and have an Ultrasound, while there they thought that it looked suspicious so the radiologist did a biopsy. When the results came back I was shocked to learn I had breast cancer. After having a MRI, PET and CT scan, we unfortunately found that the cancer was not in the early stage. I have had chemo, radiation, bilateral mastectomies, reconstruction with the flap, as well as a hysterectomy. I am on a drug now for a few more years then another drug for 5 more. Not a problem as long as I am alive. I have no risk factors except I have never had children. Please do self exams. I am lucky because I have a great team of doctors..